Ten years ago attendance at genealogical society meetings was high as that was the place to go to get our fix on all things dealing with genealogy. That is no longer true. Today Internet with its chat rooms, message boards, blogs and websites and subscription services all compete for our attention, leaving little time to spend at a meeting where our genealogy needs are not being met.
So, how do we entice people to attend and become active members of local societies? It can be summed up in one word - Change. Change by bringing in new people with new ideas to serve as officers instead of recycling the same ones year after year. Change by offering workshops on a variety of subjects that will appeal to genealogists working on all skill levels. Change by recognizing and embracing new trends in technology, possibly offering an online version of the newsletter or quarterly. Change by utilizing an online payment service as a quick and easy way to pay membership dues. But most of all, be willing to change if what you have been doing isn't working.
Does your society have a website and blog? Progressive societies utilize both as a way to promote the society and its activities. But don't stop there. Why not get your membership involved by gathering and posting genealogical material online? If you have a good online presence and offer something of value to researchers, your society will become stronger.
If you get the feeling I'm shaking my finger at you - you are probably right. If you care about your society, stop whining about decreased attendance at meetings and make some changes. It's better than watching your society wither and die.
Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog